The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply concerned by the continued delays and inaction on the much spoken about national ventilator project.

The project, described as the “brain-child” of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) Minster, Ebrahim Patel was supposed to deliver 10 000 ventilators by the end of June to make up for the shortfall in the public hospitals in the fight against Covid-19.

In May, this delivery was increased to 15 000 units and pushed out to the end of July.

In June, Minister Patel said these would be delivered by the end of August. However, just last week, we were told that only 10 000 units would be delivered and only by the end of September.

The DTIC has stated that R11 million has been spent by the Solidarity Fund (which the Department gave money to) on the development of the ventilators but has no idea how much money in total has been made available for this project, despite Minister Patel sitting on the board of the fund.

With decreasing Covid cases and deaths, where will these ventilators go and which health departments have requested them?

The Western Cape Health department has said that they do not require these machines as they have passed the peak and it will be of no use to them which begs the question, who exactly are they for?

President Ramaphosa sold the initial lockdown and extended lockdown to South Africa on the basis that his government needed to “raise the line” on healthcare, which should have included the procurement and production of ventilators. Three million people sacrificed their jobs to allow the President and Minister to do so.

We now know this line was not raised and Minster Patel has failed spectacularly in his “brain-child” project while citizens have paid with their livelihoods.

The DA has submitted Parliamentary questions to get to the bottom of this growing scandal and will hold Minister Patel accountable for it.

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